From 1953 to 2019, much of Seattle was cut of from the waterfront along Puget Sound by the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a double-decker highway. This engineering marvel belied the importance of the water to the city. From the earliest days of white settlement in Seattle, the waterfront meant commerce and growth for the city, with many docks and railroads and freight routes.
The 21st century redevelopment of the waterfront aims to bring people back to the shoreline while continuing the important commerce at the Port and at the many tourism destinations. With the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Pioneer Square is reconnecting with the water.